Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bush Should Resign Over Katrina Response

Today President Bush said "And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong," said Bush.

So in what way does Bush take responsibility? Just saying he takes responsibility is not enough, he must also face some consequences for what happened. It's so American to say, "my bad" and move on with no penalty, no personal retribution for the "bad."

We must remember that it was Bush who created this government organization called Homeland Security to protect America from major disasters both man made and "acts of God." Homeland Security was originally an idea that came from the Democrats in the Senate post 9/11, but Bush decided he liked the idea and fully endorsed the plan. He further asked for major funding which was provided by Congress.

The White House developed the Homeland Security Department, made the top post a cabinet level job. During the process they thought it was a good idea to wrap FEMA into Homeland Security. Post Katrina it has been learned that the FEMA arm of Homeland Security has been gutted and personnel transferred to other parts of HS. The decision was made by the White House to place less emphasis on FEMA or "acts of God" relief and more emphasis on terrorists attack.

Americans have to wonder to what extent Homeland Security is ready and able to respond to other "acts of God" around the country. To what extent has the White House decided that FEMA is not important enough to provide help for other natural disasters.

Consider these natural disasters that scientist have warned Americans (and the White House) to be aware of and prepare for.

Earthquakes. We have been warned that the State of California has major faultlines and that the "big one" is only a matter of time. Large urban centers such as Los Angeles and San Francisco are essentially sitting on a crustal time bomb. Further, scientists have been warning that a major earth event is soon probably for the Pacific Northwest which includes major population centers such as Portland and Seattle. Less well known but just as possible is a major faultline in the Midwest called "The New Madrid" that historically has had major events and we have major cities along that as well such as St. Louis.

Volcanos. The Pacific Northwest has major mountains that are considered active including Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Ranier, Mt. Hood and Mt. Shasta. We saw what a major eruption can do when Mt. St. Helens erupted but we "dodged a bullet" as the damage wrought didn't affect Seattle. The next time we might not be so fortunate. The predictions for a Mt. Hood eruption is that the Columbia River would be devasted and the water supply for Portland would be entirely compromised. Yellowstone Park is essentially one big volcano and in the geologic past had a super volcanic event that affected the whole midwest.

Tsunamis. The Pacific Coast is a tsunami zone. The geologic record shows that the upper coast was once hit recently with a huge tsunami that changed the shape of the coast.

Hurricanes. If recent hurricanes hasn't woken us up, then God help us. Last years Ivan nicknamed "terrible" had been a warning for the Gulf Coast, Katrina was an "I told you so." Scientists have explained that we are in a 40 to 60 year cycle (not necessarily connected to global warming) of increasing hurricane activity. We have been told to expect more and bigger hurricanes in the coming years.

Asteroids. Again the geologic record shows that we have had huge castrophes from meteor impacts. Scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before some day that crazy roll of a dice called a meteor slams the earth.

In light of Katrina it seems the White House has determined that all of the above predicted natural disasters are less important to Americans than terrorist attacks. That Homeland Security is less prepared for natural disasters than before the department was created. Essentially the White House is guilty of negligence in preparedness toward natural disasters of the above consideration.

Bush has now claimed responsibility for the failings of the federal government over the response to Katrina. I would like to know in what way he intends to fullfill some sort of consequence to the failure. As former president Harry Truman once famously said, "The buck stops here." So, the buck has been claimed by Bush, but what of it? I can only think of one way for Bush to absorb a consequence, resign. I suppose he could be impeached, but I think a man of true integrity would do the right thing and resign.


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